Pet Sitting: Professional vs. Hobbyist

There are many people out there who LOVE pets but loving them isn’t always enough when making a chose to care for them as a profession. What happens if your pet is showing signs of illness or is having a seizure but the neighborhood kid, friend, neighbor or family member isn’t aware of the signs? This could prove to be fatal depending on the illness. What happens if something is stolen or broken in your home? What if a pet escapes and is injured or worse, killed? These are questions you should be asking yourself when trying to decide on who takes care of your pets. Your pets are not the only ones who benefit from a professional. In my years of pet sitting I have saved people’s homes from flooding due to leaks in bathrooms or busted pipes, pool pumps from blowing up from low water levels and sucking in air, kids having parties, etc. So many benefits for you and your pets when you are trusting someone with experience, training and educational background.

There are situations a professional pet sitter would not allow either, for example: leaving a shy dog unleashed in a yard. Shy dogs have the tendency to run or hide when frightened and for their safety its best to keep them leashed. Professionals would not leave an owner’s dog out unattended during or between visits. We would not discourage cameras in client’s homes as this can be a great benefit to us as sitters. We would not disrespect our client’s home or privacy especially in such a vile way (having sexual relations in their bed). We would not bring our kids into your home as this becomes a huge liability. We would never turn a blind eye to animal cruelty. It is really important to understand the difference and know who you are hiring to take care of your fur babies. Hiring someone because they are cheap or live in the neighborhood is not always the best idea for your pets. I know for me and my pets, I want someone who is going to know what to do and have the ability to handle an emergency situation with my pets/home.

Professional pet sitters are often seen or lumped in with nonprofessional’s aka “hobbyists.” There are important differences and we try to educate the general public on what those differences are. These standards and differences are well documented by professional industry standards and can be found on google and by national industry organizations such as PSI or NAPPS, which professional sitters belong to. Most people who work for apps such as WAGS and Rover are hobbyists. Those who pet sit for friends, family and neighbors are also considered hobbyists. Here is the distinction (referenced by PSI, Pet Sitters International):

A professional:

-Has a local business license

-Is fully bonded and insured

-Pays taxes and qualifies for federal funds during times of disaster (ex: Covid-19)

-Has service contracts

-Provides screening (background checks) & training certifications to employees

-Offers pet sitting/ dog walking as a primary business

-Is knowledgeable about pet care, exercises integrity and honesty, and offers verbal and written communication to clients.

-Reputable, has written and posted reviews, awards etc.

-Holds our client’s privacy & security in the highest regard.

A “Hobby” Pet Sitter:

-Is not an actual business, but an individual

-May not have any insurance coverage for clients

-May not be thorough (no contracts, written communication etc.).

-May have very limited behavioral knowledge about animals

-May like pets but has not pursued any ongoing education, certification etc.

-Offers pet care as a side gig for side cash not as their primary job.


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